Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
There are many female architects and urban planners who have contributed to the development of disciplines aimed at improving the daily lives and social relations of many citizens throughout the twentieth century, most notably in the design and construction of domestic and urban spaces. The Dutch urban planner Jacoba Mulder and the English landscape architect Marjory Allen, Lady of Hurtwood, did so in the second post-war period in Amsterdam and London, respectively, both engaging in the design for a new habitability of the public space, a space “of the” public that they wanted to make accessible to everyone, especially children and young people. Prominent figures in pioneering experiences, they had the opportunity to practice an interstitial planning capable of realizing safer and more liveable urban spaces. Today, their reinterpretation can inspire interesting insights into contemporary city design and wider general reflections on the culture of dwelling and the design competence of women. A competence that, be it “expert” or “common,” can make public space more habitable for all.